Six thousand dollars. Thats how much we owed our creditors
after the medical bills came in. It might as well been six
million for all our ability to repay the debt. Adding to our
stress, my wife received word her godmother was seriously ill
and expected to die. For thirty years, Hazel had been a
confidant, friend and second mother to Nancy.
When she hung up the phone and told me the news, I shrugged my
shoulders in resignation. We didnt have much choice. I
withdrew the remaining few dollars from our savings and we
drove to Kansas City. Hazel died a few days later.
We returned home after the funeral and settled back into our
routine. I spent much of my time looking for work and hoping my
former employer would call me back from lay-off. Nancy tended
to the needs of our two young children. Odd jobs kept food on
the table and, with the help of family, we trudged forward.
Then we received a surprise phone call from an attorney
advising us that Hazel had bequeathed us a portion of her
estate. While her will made its way through probate, would we
like an advance on the money she left us?
Within the week all our debts were paid.
From time to time, when I think of how Hazels bequest freed
us from our suffocating financial burden, my mind drifts to
Another who, by His death, set me free from the stranglehold of
a different kind of debt. For many years I struggled under a
burden far greater than six thousand dollars, or even six
million. It was one I could never repay in ten thousand
During those years, in my rare reflective moments, I knew
something was wrong with my life. Following every new wave of
passion which caught my interest, I drifted from one rebellion
to another until my arrogance and temper, my lies, sexual
flings and drunkenness bound me tighter than any iron chain.
It was a debt I could never repay in ten thousand lifetimes.
Not only did I know something was wrong, I knew what was
wrong. In the deepest crevices of my heart I sensed my sins had
separated me from God (see Isaiah 59:2) and my lifestyle
deserved His judgement. I needed to fix my life, but could
hardly go a day without succumbing to some temptation or
another. My debt compounded by the hour.
Then someone told me about the Will.
Though your sins are as scarlet, one clause read, they will
be white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Another portion promised, God
so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal
life (John 3:16). And another, If we confess our sins, God is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from
all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Still another, All of us
like sheep have gone astray, each of us have turned to his own
way; but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all
The Willbetter known as the Old and New Testamentscontinued
on and on, page after page, promise upon promise. I
thought it must be a dream. Maybe a cruel joke. No one knew the
breadth and the depth of my sins as well as I. Would God really
cleanse my filthy past ? Did He, despite my rebellion, lay my
full debt upon Christs shoulders at Calvary? If I dared to
look toward God and repentwould He really forgive me? Oh!
If only it was true. If only my debt could be paid.
I wavered between desperation and hope as the burden of guilt
hovered above my spirit like a stagnant blanket. At times I
thought I couldnt breathe. And then an idea slipped under one
corner. Would God lie? Would He promise something and not
fulfill it? I knew the answer. I dont know why I ever
It was time to trust God. It was time to believe all those
promises in Scripture were not just for the world, but they
were for me. I went to my knees and apologized for all the sins
I could remember ever committing. I asked Him to lay my debt on
Christs shoulders. I asked Him to cleanse my past and forgive
me. And in that moment of repentance, God fulfilled His
promises. He gave me a new life, a new hope, a new future. Best
of all, God stamped my certificate of debt: paid in fullredeemed
by the blood of the Lamb.